The S&P 500 is up 2.3% for the week and it looks poised to pad that gain at the open as earnings results from some of the nation's biggest banks have helped drive a positive bias in the futures market.
JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Citigroup (C), and Wells Fargo (WFC) all reported better than expected earnings. Each of those stocks is trading up in pre-market action, although it is fair to say that the initial reaction isn't exceedingly bullish.
JPM is up 1.4%, C is up 1.2%, and WFC is up 0.4%.
The movement in the bank stocks -- and the broader financial sector -- after the open is going to be a key sentiment driver today.
If the gains can be maintained (or added to), the stock market should show some fortitude in holding a positive bias. If the bank stocks roll over, however, it would be regarded as a disappointing development that will raise concerns about the ability of good earnings news to help drown out the festering angst related to trade, geopolitical, and monetary policy matters.
Currently, the S&P 500 futures are up 15 points and are trading 0.6% above fair value. The Nasdaq 100 futures are up 32 points and the Dow Jones industrial Average futures are up 148 points.
The banks aren't the only source of support in the early going.
Broadcom (AVGO) has set a good tone for the information technology sector with the news that its board has authorized the repurchase of up to $12 billion of common stock. AVGO is up 4.4% in pre-market trading.
Qualcomm (QCOM), which garnered a takeover bid from Broadcom before the president nixed the deal, is up 2.2% following reports that its former chairman, Paul Jacobs, is working on arranging funding to take the company private.
There is no certainty that transaction will happen, but nonetheless, it is a news item that has helped underpin buying interest in the information technology sector, which is already up 4.1% this week.
With the financial and information technology sectors set to take a leadership position, it is easy to understand why the futures market is imbued with a bullish bias. Those two sectors are the two most heavily-weighted sectors in the S&P 500, accounting for nearly 40% of the S&P 500 market capitalization.
For now, the market has set aside its nervousness about a potential strike on Syria and it seems to have compartmentalized its worries about trade wars given the lack of any new jarring headlines on the topic.
On a related note, China's trade balance report for March was mixed. It was accented with a surprising 2.7% year-over-year decline in exports and a stronger than expected 14.4% year-over-year increase in imports. The end result was a surprising trade deficit of approximately $5.0 billion that was the country's first monthly trade deficit since February 2017.
The economic data out of the U.S. today includes the JOLTS-Job Openings Report for February (Prior 6.312 million) and the preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Report for April (Briefing.com consensus 100.6; Prior 101.4). both reports will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Several Fed officials -- Boston Fed President Rosengren, St. Louis Fed President Bullard, and Dallas Fed President Kaplan -- have speaking engagements today. None of these men are FOMC voters this year, which is an understanding that will diminish some of the market's interest in their remarks.